Bouchon Revisited – Yountville


Unlike my last visit to Thomas Keller’s Bouchon, I was thoroughly smitten by the food this time… but the service turned out to be virtually non-existent. So, even though I was happy to pay for the food at its price (and I craaaave my Croque Madame), I was disappointed that our table of six was given so little attention. And it’s not like we wanted much — for instance, all we wanted to do was order our food in the beginning of the meal, and to decline to dessert before the waiter tossed down two dessert menus without asking us about it and then running away. We probably could have saved almost half an hour from our meal; we gave no signs of desiring to linger. We also sat in the banquette-lined back section this time, which was much louder and livelier than the secluded front table for two we had last time. So, it felt busier, but not detrimentally so.

Bouchon Pate

Pate de Campagne — Country Style Pate with Watercress, Cornichons, & Radishes. The pate was smoother than pate de campagne that I’ve in the past, but that was fine because it was very good. I believe that there is bacon wrapped on the outside of the pate, which I didn’t realize until I surprised by a wonderfully smoky bite. I didn’t want to drown the flavors with mustard, but it’s such a good pairing that I had quite a bit. My only criticism, which applies to many dishes of this type, is about the paltry amount of bread. How can so much pate fit onto so few pieces of bread? I truly never know.

Sandwiches

Croque Madame (bottom — Toasted Ham and Cheese Sandwich on Brioche with a Fried Egg and & Mornay Sauce, served w/ French Fries) and Open-Faced Lamb and Pickled Red Onion Tartine on Toasted Levain w/ French Fries (top). I didn’t want my Croque Madame to end — I liked how every single element of the sandwich held its own and combined into a wonderful cascade of flavors and textures. Butter, ham, cheese, egg, and a clean bread and butter finish. I was especially happy with the amount of sauce — usually I have to scrape some off, and went to do so reflexively, but it was a perfect thin layer that added juat that little bit extra cheesy creaminess.

The Lamb Tartine was served chilled, which was a surprise to us. And it worked. It was like a refreshing Spring sandwich and the flavors came out so well through the chill.

Roast Chicken

Poulet Roti — Roasted Chicken with a Ragout of Fingerling Potatoes & Garden Arugula. I was a little surprised by the plating of this dish — I think it’s a bit vertical for bistro food. Otherwise, juicy and delicious.

cocktails

I finally got to try their cocktails.  The Bouchon (left) — if I remember correctly — Lillet Blanc, Vodka, and a French Peach Liqueur.  I really like combining wines with hard liquor, and here, it was slightly sweet and somewhat tart combination; I think fortified wines act almost as a liqueur so that they blend more easily with hard liquor.  And a great Kir Royale (right).

6 Responses to “Bouchon Revisited – Yountville”

  1. Sweet Napa » Blog Archive » Bouchon - Yountville Says:

    […] Edit: I have since revisited Bouchon. […]

  2. Ivonne Says:

    I got to visit Bouchon last summer on a trip to Napa. (We also ordered the pain de campagne). I enjoyed the meal but was more impressed by the Bouchon bakery!

  3. Nina Says:

    Ivonne – I forgot to mention that we ran over to Bouchon Bakery after the meal to get desserts and bread. I agree about the bakery — I’ve always been happy with what I’ve gotten there, and even though it’s a little pricy for a bakery, its food is still a bargain compared to other food in the valley. One of these days, I want to have a simple picnic with one of their sandwiches and some pastries.

  4. Jessica Says:

    I’d love to hear your take on the french fries! My husband ordered the steak frites when we were there, and I must say Keller has taken the french fry to another level. I’ve never had fries that delicious before. How did you feel about them? And your croque madame looks beautiful, by the way. That photo is making me hungry.

  5. Nina Says:

    Jessica – I wish I could remember more about the fries…. I remember them being nice and potato-ey.

    I hate to burst any bubble… but I’ve heard that he uses frozen fries at Bouchon! http://nymag.com/daily/food/2007/01/in_his_cookbook_bouchon_thomas.html

    There’s a recipe for fries w/ fresh russet potatoes in the Bouchon cookbook, but it looks suspiciously low on details….

    I’m cool with frozen, though — if they’re chosen for their flavor/texture and they’re cooked well, then why not.

  6. Tessa Says:

    I experienced Bouchon last week for the first time. I can say that it has soared to the very top of my “faves” list. The Croque Madame was insanely delicious, and the duck-fat fried fries? wow. just wow.

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